Most Guyanese of voting age, especially the younger ones, will find it very entertaining that President David Granger, in the midst of government’s punitive taxation and other measures, could say that three years from now, the APNU/AFC coalition will win a second term at the next general elections.
At the time when the President made his wish, the Georgetown City Council was under siege by thousands of citizens in and around the capital protesting what they claim to be hardships unleashed by the Parking Meters. While the President ordered a reduction of parking fees, the citizens are defiant and want the deal scraped due to the shady nature of the arrangements.
The President was perhaps trying to lift the spirits of the PNC loyalists who are reeling from the some 200 tax measures slapped on them by the government. The VAT on water and electricity and more recently, the 14 percent VAT on private education is beginning to bite hard. So too is the skyrocketing of prices of consumer goods due to the government’s decision to remove them from the non-vatable category implemented by the PPP/C government.
Georgetown is where the APNU (PNC) gets most of its votes and so any unrest in the city could redound to the detriment of APNU’s support. Many PNC supporters are out there protesting and venting their anger, not only against, Parking Meters, but all the other burdens paced on them by the government since it took office less than two years ago. The Parking Meter debacle, non-political in form, seems to be a convenient occasion to voice discontent without facing reprisals from the government.
When the President so self-confidently said he will get another term, he certainly couldn’t have been talking about support from those who are suffering in the rice and sugar industry; the small miners, the bulk of businesses and the ordinary man who has had his standard of living reduced in a short time.
In the midst of a declining economy, regular scandals, charges of corruption, mis-management and incompetence, shady deals, the President had to be bold to give an “A” grade for performance by his government since taking office. He is obviously speaking to his most avid supporters which are getting fewer and fewer. Most supporters of the ruling coalition would definitely not give the Granger administration high marks on performance and are now becoming the hurting but silent majority among supporters.
Is the President hoping that in spite of failing so badly to manage the country the die-hards will stick with the PNC? Is he hoping that the killing of the rice and sugar industries, with the resulting impoverishment of mainly indo-Guyanese will serve as appeasement? Is he, like a good soldier, trying to get his brigade together in the hope that a windfall is coming soon from which his supporters will be the main benefactor?
Many are trying to fathom the depth of loyalty in this unfolding saga in Guyana where the supporters of the PNC (not the AFC, since they are as good as dead) believe that they are willing stay quiet and take brutal punishment with the hope of reward later. A large section of the populace sees clearly that the promised “Change” has morphed into destruction that threatens the entire nation. And they are making their voices heard. They are hoping that their brothers and sisters who are finding it harder and harder to cope with daily oppressive measures, but are silent, will find the strength to offer solidarity. Or are they going to fall for the hoax!